Tobacco farmers paid P100,000 bond vs smoking ban?

Tobacco farmers from La Union helped pay for the P100,000 bond required by a Mandaluyong court for the filing of a case against the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority’s (MMDA) smoking ban in public roads, a lawyer said Friday.

The bond payment means that a 20-day temporary restraining order (TRO) on the enforcement of the no-smoking policy on roads in Metro Manila is now in effect.

NO SMOKING road sign

NO SMOKING road sign

Atty. Luis dela Paz, lawyer of Anthony Clemente who filed a complaint against the MMDA’s smoking ban, did not name the farmers.

He said his client, who was earlier reported to be looking for cash to pay for the bond, has not gone missing.

Clemente was earlier apprehended for smoking in a public road.

He filed the complaint against the MMDA but later told ABS-CBN News that he intentionally smoked in public to get arrested.

Clemente then made a turnaround and claimed that he was only misquoted.

His complaint and alleged link to a tobbacco manufacturer, which Clemente has denied, have drawn the ire of former Health Secretary Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan.

“The admission of the complainant that the case was fabricated should appall Filipinos to no end. The tobacco industry is obviously pulling out all stops to block laudable public health measures like the MMDA’s enforcement campaign,” Tan said in a press statement Wednesday.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said the agency has filed a motion for reconsideration at the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court regarding the 20-day TRO on the smoking ban.

Tolentino said the motion cites the MMDA’s authority, as well as Clemente’s first statement wherein he admitted that he was only used.

The MMDA also plans to void Clemente’s environmental ticket because of his statement in the ABS-CBN interview that he intentionally smoked in a public place to get arrested.

Meanwhile, a throat cancer survivor and president of a nongovernment group is appealing to Clemente to stand by his first statement that a tobacco company paid him to file the complaint in court.

Rojas believes that the later affidavit released by Clemente’s lawyer is false.

He was planing to give a letter to Clemente Thursday, but the latter was not home.

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